Corn Snakes

How Do Corn Snakes Mate? – The Process & Complications

How do corn snakes mate?

So how do corn snakes mate? Corn snakes don’t usually mate all year round. They naturally wait until after the winter cooling to begin mating, so the beginning of spring usually. When he’s ready, the male will then use tactile and chemical cues, to allow the female to understand his intensions. The male will then proceed to line up their bodies side by side. Once the cloacal openings of the corn snake are lined up, facing one another, a sudden pulse from the male hemipenis pushes into the female. Sperm quickly ejaculates into the female, however they will stay interlocked for about 10-20 minutes.

Corn snakes will generally breed anywhere from 2 years of age, as long as they have been well fed and looked after, reached adult size. Any colour or morph, corn snakes can mate with one another. How ever you may need to use some environment manipulation to to prepare them for breeding. What I mean by this is, you want to create “spring like’ conditions for your two snakes. 

(Please scroll down to the bottom of the page to find ‘Other related articles you might like’, once you are done reading).

Manipulation period

You should start by manipulating the winter period, making it slightly cooler and definitely have longer darker periods. After all, day light hours in the winter months are short, so replicate this in the two snake enclosures.  You want the cool season period temperature to range between 50-65 degrees Fahrenheit. This can be done for roughly 60 days, or thereabout. You will need to keep a close eye on your corn snakes size and weight, because at temperatures lower than these, your snake may start to burn fat reserves and can actually enter the reproductive period thinner and weaker than they should be.

After a couple of months being in a darkened environment, you can start bringing the warmth and longer lighting hours back into the enclosure. Anywhere between 8-10 hours of light is a great starting range for replicating spring months. You should set the lighting of a timer, which increases by 15-30 minute every two weeks, over the next 6 months.

Simulating the arrival of spring at the same time for both the male and female own snake will ensure that their reproductive hormones will be in unison. Several weeks after the warming period, you will likely see your two corn snakes starting to shed their skin. This is a sign that you will soon be ready to mate. You will need to wait until after this shedding has occurred, as this will be the primary action, and first on their to do list.

Another sign to look out for is only with the female. What you are looking for is ovulation in the female. Basically your female will start to look as if she’s been well fed, with a bulge. However this bulge will be much lower in her body than usual and will be soft and squishy to touch. (Unlike a full stomach after a meal).

Ready to mate

When you feel your corn snake are ready to mate, you may proceed to place the in the breeding enclosure. Breeders will usually spray room temperature water into the enclosure, rising the humidity levels, which helps the spread of the females pheromones. The male corn snake will take immediate interest in any new snake in it vicinity, whether male or female.

If he detects a female, this is when he starts to make his move, lining himself up beside her body. Once the activities have begun, the pair of snakes will stay interlocked anywhere between 10-20 minutes.

Pregnant females will feed extensively for the next three to six weeks after mating. However after this period, the snakes eggs will cause a lot of discomfort for the female to digest food, so she will likely stop eating all together just before the prenatal shed.

It’s also common for the male to also refuse food during the breeding season, so don’t be alarmed if you witness this. Just keep offering him food each week, but don’t force it. He will eat in his own time. He your male corn snake looks visibly unhealthy, then seek advise from a trained professional.

Laying their eggs

Typically four to six weeks after the mating process your female will shed her skin for the last time before laying her eggs. It’s at this point in time you want to create a nesting container for her, which can actually be put in her enclosure. New gravid corns will allow for a secret sheltered place for the female snake to nest her eggs. Microwaveable plastic tubs have been proven ideal for a nesting box. A single hole, to enter and exit, twice the size of the females wides body part, should be made in the top of the box. The size of the box should be at least big enough to house  two or three snakes of hot size. Thin newspaper strips are a great nesting insulating material, as well as offering a lot of comfort for the female snake.

Corn snake eggs are usually laid 30 – 45 days after mating, with a 10 – 30 eggs pre clutch. Young snakes may actually lay a low number of eggs. Commonly used incubation materials are sphagnum moss, or coarse vermiculite. These are both non toxic materials which remain damp for long periods. Incubation temperature for the eggs range between 80-86 Fahrenheit. This have been proven to be the most beneficial temperature for recently hatched corn snakes.

Most Recommended For Corn Snakes

Bathing Water Bowl – Click Here

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Reliable Thermometer – Click Here

Vivarium/Enclosure – Click Here

Climbing Branches – Click Here

Hydrometer – Click Here

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